Labor Day Parade doesn’t fail to deliver fun

The 2019 Powhatan Lions Club Labor Day Parade participants included the first appearance of the 2019 Powhatan Christmas Mother Betsy Blandford.

Powhatan County outdid itself on Labor Day.

This year marks my sixth year covering the bi-annual parades that fill the Village area on Labor Day and at Christmastime. As long as the weather of the day doesn’t try to steal the show, these annual traditions are always good for a fun morning or afternoon outdoors enjoying what the Powhatan community has to offer.

For the 2019 parade and vendor fair on the Courthouse Green, the Powhatan community outdid itself. As far as I know, there is never an official count of how many people come out for the parade, but I would guess it is at least a few thousand between the parade participants and the spectators.

Anyone who sat through the full parade this year knows it was a long one. There were 73 parade entries that included local nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses, school groups, youth organizations, fire and rescue personnel, county employees, churches, car clubs, motorcycle clubs, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, pageant winners, and political candidates.

For those of you who didn’t catch it, organizers did something new by asking entrants to embrace a theme – “We love Powhatan because …” In particular, the parade this year was aimed at showing appreciation to all school employees, both public and private.

The schools didn’t fail to represent. Several schools had large contingents of faculty, staff and students on individual floats. The Powhatan High School Marching Band put on a wonderful show as well. Then you had the students of all ages being highlighted for their talents in theater, music, sports, cheerleading, agriculture, and animal care.

New Christmas Mother Betsy Blandford wore a gorgeous Christmas tree tiara and lived up to her moniker, The Queen, as she waved to the crowds and blew kisses.

I was delighted to see the crowds give due honor to the grand marshal, retired Powhatan chief deputy Adam Sadler, who served the community for almost 26 years. He received a standing ovation near the announcer’s table, which was a fitting tribute for his years of service.

There were some great reminders of the importance of doing our civic duty. The Powhatan Complete Count Committee had a float in the parade to promote its efforts of getting the word out about the 2020 Census.

The Powhatan County Registrar’s Office had a table on the Courthouse Green so people could register to vote or be reminded to do it before the voter registration deadline on Tuesday, Oct. 15. And if that wasn’t enough, there were 17 parade entries and numerous booths on the Courthouse Green to promote the political parties and candidates for local and state elections.

And talking about the parade would not be complete without giving a huge shout-out to the Powhatan Lions Club, which sponsors the parade. Between the parade and the vendor event, there were 39 Lions working to make the day a success, whether it was handling the participant signups, checking people in, directing traffic, setting up, or taking down, they did an amazing amount of work to make the day such a treat for everyone.

It’s funny – when I interview people after the parade for the story I always write about the event, I usually ask them if they had a favorite part of the event. But because I am so focused on getting good photos and making sure the livestream is working properly (it didn’t, my phone overheated halfway through the parade and we lost some content) I never just sit back and think about my favorite part.

So now I am. And while it may seem cliché, as much as I love the razzle dazzle of the actual parade, I most enjoy walking along the parade route and around the Courthouse Green before and after. During that time, I get the opportunity to meet new people and see those I have come to know in the last five-plus years of covering stories in Powhatan County. It’s like a condensed revision of my time with the newspaper and always serves as a good reminder of why I love being the editor of the Powhatan Today.

Laura McFarland may be reached at

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